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aai insurance

An Accredited Advisor in Insurance (AAI) can help you find the right policies to fit all of your insurance requirements. From protecting your family from financial disaster to shielding your business from lawsuits, your insurance needs can be complex. Making the right choices and purchasing the right policies can be confusing, but an AAI will guide you through those choices and make sure you have the insurance you need. To find this type of financial expert who best meets your needs, try our free financial advisor matching tool.

Accredited Advisor in Insurance Designation Explained

An Accredited Advisor in Insurance (AAI) is a designation given to insurance professionals who have demonstrated a high-level of insurance knowledge and have a strong focus on customer service. The knowledge acquired by achieving the AAI designation can help insurance professionals provide better service and recommendations to all consumers. Finding an advisor with this designation is especially helpful for those with complicated insurance needs.

The AAI program originated from a partnership between the Insurance Institute of America and the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America. The Institutes Risk & Insurance Knowledge Group provides professional education with the focus on risk-management and property casualty insurance. The Institutes runs a variety of courses, including the AAI designation program. To achieve the AAI designation professionals must complete The Institutes’ education requirements and pass various exams.

Accredited Advisor in Insurance Qualifications

aai insurance

The Institutes estimates that the AAI program takes between nine and 12 months to complete. To earn an AAI designation, professionals must pass a series of three foundation courses. The topics covered during this coursework includes principles of insurance, personal insurance, commercial property insurance, commercial liability and more.

Futuremore, AAI professionals must also meet an ethics requirement by passing the 50-question Ethical Guidelines for Insurance Professionals or Ethics and the CPCU Code of Professional Conduct exam. If an insurance professional decides to further their education they can acquire an Accredited Advisor in Insurance – Management (AAI-M) by completing one extra course. Some programs may also help professionals earn credit toward completing  bachelor’s and master’s degrees at prominent colleges and universities.

Benefits of Working With an Accredited Advisor in Insurance

There are a lot of ways to purchase insurance. Therefore, working with an insurance professional who has an AAI designation can set them apart from other insurance experts. The AAI designation demonstrates commitment and drive to help consumers find the best insurance products available.

As you go about planning your entire financial life from using an asset-allocation calculator for your investments to making sure you are on track for your future by using a retirement calculator, pairing up with an AAI might serve you well as you take a glance at your holistic financial needs. According to insurance professionals who have earned the AAI designation, there are three underlying benefits to working with someone who is an AAI.

  • The experience gained through the course materials and exams helps professionals demonstrate professional competency.
  • AAI professionals are able to offer quality customer service to help clients reach their short-term and long-term goals.
  • The AAI designation adds value to the insurance professional’s role within their agency.

These advantages are not only beneficial to the insurance professional acquiring the designation. They are also beneficial to consumers who need professional guidance when purchasing suitable insurance policies. This is especially true for consumers who have complex insurance needs and require special expertise and attention to their specific insurance situation.

Alternative Insurance Designations

The Institutes offers other popular risk-management and customer service focused programs in insurance such as Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU®) and Associate in Risk Management (ARM™). These programs also help prepare insurance professionals to enhance technical skills related to handling claims and prepare for changes in financial objectives and methods.

To get a full list of designations offered, visit The Institutes’ website.

Do You Need to Work With an Accredited Advisor in Insurance?

aai insurance

If you don’t know how to meet your insurance needs, you’re not alone. Understanding all the complexities of insurance can be a challenge for anyone to grasp. Even if you have the time and resources to understand all aspects of the insurance industry, it may be wise to have an expert guide you with your purchasing decisions. Partnering with an AAI can eliminate the stress of making purchasing decisions alone. Just make sure you know the right questions to ask a financial advisor before choosing to work with an AAI.

If you have an insurance need, an AAI can help evaluate all insurance options to determine the best policies and strategies to aid you in achieving your insurance objectives. Insurance professionals have helped hundreds of people understand and optimize all of the pieces of their insurance puzzle to help them protect their most important assets.

How to Find an Accredited Advisor in Insurance

It’s important to work with an AAI who understands your insurance needs. Before you start your search, you will want to determine your insurance priorities. For example, if you need business insurance to protect your company against property damage or liability claims, you will want to work with an insurance professional who specializes in liability insurance.

In addition to understanding your own insurance needs, it may be wise to consider a few other factors when selecting an insurance professional. Some of these factors include:

  • Licensing: It’s key to verify the insurer you’re considering has a license in your state. You can confirm a company’s licensing information through the NAIC’s Consumer Information Source (CIS) or by calling your state insurance department.
  • Alternative credentials: As discussed, there are a variety of designations insurance professional can earn. If an insurance professional has other letters behind his name, ask him to explain what the letters mean and what other credentials he has. This will help you determine their experience level and expertise.
  • Consumer complaints: When you verify an insurer’s licensing, you may want to double check to see if he has had any complaints filed against him. To check the company, you can also visit the NAIC’s CIS site.
  • Financial strength of the insurance company: When determining if you want purchase a policy from a certain insurance company, you should review the company’s financial rating.

Additional Tips for Vetting an Accredited Advisor in Insurance Candidate

Once you understand what to look for in an insurance professional, you can start your search. When partnering with an insurance professional you shouldn’t feel pressured to purchase a policy or work with a certain agent. If the deal seems too good to be true, it most likely is.

You may want to consider working with an independent insurance professional. These agents offer a variety of policies and coverage options, because they’re not tied to one insurance company.

The Take Away

When selecting an AAI, you want to ensure the professional is trustworthy and has your best interest in mind. The AAI designation helps you pick an insurance professional out of the pack. The designation demonstrates his commitment to offering the best recommendations and their understanding of the complexities of the insurance industry.

When selecting possible AAI candidates, make sure you interview at least three professionals. You will want to verify they can help you with your complex insurance situation. Use your judgment to determine if they are a right match for you. Remember to take into account if he tries to pressure you into products that you aren’t interested in. Ditto if he seems to ignore your requests for information about options that you’ve researched.

You should base your AAI selection on a combination of your level of comfort, the professional’s knowledge and his receptiveness to your input. That’s the most effective way to assure you find someone you can work well with for your insurance needs.

Insurance Tips

  • Looking for a more general financial advisor? Find one with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and we match you with up to three advisors in your area, all fully vetted and free of disclosures. You talk to each advisor and make a choice about how to move forward.
  • If you’re looking for a life insurance option, it may be wise to evaluate your insurance needs before searching for an agent. Using the SmartAsset’s life insurance calculator can help you asses your life insurance needs. Understanding the amount of coverage you need will arm you with the knowledge to find the right insurance professional.

Photo Credit: © iStock/PeopleImages, © iStock/Cecilie_Arcurs, © iStock/skynesher

Ashley Chorpenning Caroline Hwang has been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. Her work has appeared in print and online, including in the New York Times and HuffPo. Before coming to SmartAsset, she worked on the staffs of such publications as Glamour, Redbook and Good Housekeeping. Caroline has a bachelor’s from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA from New York University. She has yet to beat her young son at chess.
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